Understanding how groups and pages discuss key topics during elections

Possible for:
Election Monitoring
Use this methodology if you are interested in understanding how Facebook pages and groups are discussing different key topics during an election. This approach is based off DRI's 2019 report on the Presidential Elections in Sri Lanka.

1. Sample selection

  • Create a list of keywords or hashtags related to your election (#Election2020). Are there any important topics to include?
  • Make sure your keywords are broad enough to capture posts on your topic but narrow enough that they don't pull in unrelated posts. This will require trial and error with the Twitter API prior to beginning your official monitoring.
  • Not that perhaps you may need to add new topics as they arise during the election.

2. Gather data

  • Gather all posts mentioning these keywords
  • If you need to limit the amount of data, you can look at the top accounts posting content within your sample.

3. Classify data

  • Classify posts by narrative (which is different than topic). For example, if you are monitoring posts on the topic of a new immigration reform bill you may labels posts discussing the following narratives: (0) crimes by immigrants (1) immigrants are "stealing jobs" (2) immigrants improve social fabric of society (3) immigrants help economy (4) none.
  • Classify posts by sentiment: (0) very negative (1) negative (2) neutral (3) positive (4) very positive

4. Analyze data

  • Which topics were the most important? Which topics were associated with certain sentiments?

  • What type of content were pages and groups posting? Did these groups become more active over time?

  • Which narratives were the most important?
  • Track topics and narratives over time. Did any specific events trigger an increase in discussion on a specific topic?
  • How were posts of a certain sentiment shared?

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